Modeling With Foam

Things You'll Need

  • Sheet or block of foam
  • Marker or pen
  • Dremel tool or X-Acto knife
  • Glue
  • Goggles and dust mask
  • Paint and paint brush (optional)

Making a foam model can be a way to make prototypes of products and buildings. Foam is light, portable and easy to work with, allowing you to basically make it into any shape you can imagine. While making a model is not that hard to do, it is suggested that you start with a simple project before creating your masterpiece. That way you can be sure that your technique is right.


Buy your foam. Most craft stores and hobby shops will sell foam that you can use. You also can check a home improvement center. The type of foam that will serve you best will depend on the project you are working on. Ask a store employee to help you find your best option. Make sure to get more foam than you need to allow for any mistakes.

Mark out the shape you'd like to make on your foam. Use a marker or pen and be sure to delineate both the top and sides. Don't worry about the lines. You can always sand them off.

Grab your Dremel tool and start drilling out the portions of the foam that you need to remove. If you don’t have a Dremel tool or aren’t sure how to use one, you can also use an X-Acto knife.

Once you have the basic shape hammered out, sand your foam to complete your shape and get rid of any jagged edges. You can use sand paper if you choose, but a belt sander will save you some time. Start with a rough grain and go finer as you get close to your final product.

If your project takes more than one piece of foam, you can attach them together with clear craft glue. Use tape to hold them in place until they dry thoroughly.

Once your glue is dry, you can paint your model using ordinary craft paint. If you have a very large model, you may want to use a water-soluble spray paint instead. Be sure to cover the parts you don't want painted before you begin.


  • Your model will get done faster if you use Krazy Glue or a similar substance instead of normal household glue. But be aware that stronger glue is harder to get off if you make a mistake.


  • When you’re cutting or sanding the foam, small bits of it can get in your eyes, nose and mouth. Always wear goggles and a dust mask to protect yourself. If you’re using spray paint, make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area. It’s very easy to cut yourself with the X-Acto knife or Dremel tool. Always have a first-aid kit on hand. Don’t put a lot of pressure on the foam when you sand it. Pieces of it could break off.